After what seems like years or relative stagnation, things are moving at a rapid pace in the world of VR. Oculus Connect 6, the conference held late in September of 2019, was particularly fruitful and has the whole VR community abuzz.
Surprisingly most of the good news when it comes to the Oculus line comes from the mid-tier Oculus Quest product. The Quest is a gaming-focused standalone VR headset that is currently the best VR experience you will get form any standalone solution. It’s also pretty affordable, but users who wanted access to premium VR applications on PC have no real choice but to buy something like the Oculus Rift. That is, until now.
Little Port of Wonders
The Oculus Quest uses a USB-C port used for charging, but it’s not just a dumb socket. With an upcoming software update and a special USB-C cable that Oculus will apparently sell itself, you can tether the Quest to a computer and essentially use it as a Rift!
According to what AnandTech was told, Oculus will be bringing a fiber optic USB-C cable to market for the Quest, which allows for a much longer tether, but there is no reason any regular USB 3 USB-C cable won’t work. You can use the USB-C port on your motherboard or on any of the latest GPUs, that have one built in specifically for VR use.
Is the Rift Obsolete?
This is an important question! The Quest isn’t all that expensive, has inside-out room-scale tracking and has a higher-resolution internal display than the latest Rift. With this tethering ability it seems that Oculus may be killing off any reason to buy a Rift in future.
Depending on how exactly this new feature is implemented, the Quest has suddenly become the best VR headset to buy from Oculus or anyone. Being one of the best standalone offerings and offering premium-grade tethered VR with advanced tracking features.
Oculus have indicated that they eventually want to make wireless tethering possible with the Quest and that the onboard Snapdragon-based hardware isn’t idle in tethered mode. So there’s still a lot more to discover about this.
One possibility is that the Quest will become the new mainline headset. Another is that there is some as-yet unknown HMD that will be the true successor to the Rift, which will offer something not found in this more mainstream device. The new Oculus prototypes might well be a sign of things to come.